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Science Museum Group announces new series exploring diversity and inclusion in STEM

Today the Science Museum Group announces a new series of online talks exploring issues around diversity and inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) as part of its ongoing commitment to share untold stories of science and promote these subjects to everyone.

The Open Talk series will be streamed online to connect with a global audience and brings together a diverse line-up of international speakers including cultural figures, scientists, authors and policy makers. Exploring themes including race and identity, unconscious bias in tech and inequality in STEM, the series will encourage audiences to consider both causes of and solutions to these issues. The first wave of events featuring The Guilty Feminist’s Deborah Frances-White, science writer Angela Saini, The Gadget Show’s Ortis Deley and Christian Aid CEO Amanda Khozi Mukwashi are available to book from today.

Kicking off on Thursday 4 March 2021, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the new Open Talk series will begin with a live broadcast of award-winning comedy podcast, The Guilty Feminist. Following its sell-out show at the Science Museum in 2018, presenter Deborah Frances-White returns for a special edition celebrating women in medicine and healthcare. Deborah will be joined by science writer Angela Saini and former Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies to discuss their goals as modern feminists.

On Thursday 25 March 2021 Ortis Deley, presenter of The Gadget Show, will be joined by creative technologist Alex Fefegha to explore the question: does tech discriminate? From AI and facial recognition systems to online search algorithms and social media echo chambers, discrimination continues to have a serious, measurable impact on everyday life. Together, the panel will discuss how areas of technology are subject to racial bias and how we can create technology that truly works for everyone. More speakers to be announced.

On Tuesday 20 April, Science Museum Group Chief Executive Sir Ian Blatchford will be joined in conversation by Christian Aid CEO Amanda Khozi Mukwashi to discuss the themes of her thought-provoking debut But Where Are You Really From? Telling the story of Mukwashi’s experience as a Christian Black woman with Zambian heritage, born and living in the UK, the book explores the search for identity against a backdrop of faith, humanity and hope and how it feels to be judged on skin colour when identity is made up of so many things. Sir Ian and Amanda will discuss her book and the experiences that shaped it.

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group, said:

“Our mission is to inspire futures with the wonders of science, technology, engineering and maths, and to achieve this we need to ensure STEM is open for all. We hope our Open Talk series will encourage our audiences to challenge themselves, but also celebrate the diversity of people in science that continue to enrich our understanding of the world.”

These talks are the latest in a series of online events delving into the Science Museum Group’s value of Open for All. In September 2020, Sir Ian Blatchford was joined in conversation by David Lammy MP to discuss his latest book exploring themes of identity and tribalism; and in January 2021, Sir Ian was joined by Chris Bryant MP to explore the remarkable contribution to Britain’s involvement in the Second World War made by a group of young, queer British MPs. These events are available to watch on the Science Museum’s YouTube channel.

The Open Talk series will run alongside the Group’s Climate Talks, a series of events leading public engagement around climate science within the cultural sector.

More events to be announced soon.

ENDS

Notes for editors

For more info, images an interview queries, please contact Amrita Pal in the Press Office at amrita.pal@sciencemuseum.ac.uk or 020 7942 4096.

Find out more about the Science Museum Group’s value of being Open for All.

Event information

The Guilty Feminist: Women in Medicine

Thursday 4 March 2021, 19.30–21.00

Panellists: Deborah Frances-White, Angela Saini, Dame Sally Davies; more speakers to be announced

Does Tech Discriminate?

Thursday 25 March 2021, 19.30–20.45

Panellists: Ortis Deley, Alex Fefegha; more speakers to be announced

Sir Ian Blatchford in conversation with Amanda Khozi Mukwashi

Tuesday 20 April 2021, 18.30–19.30

Panellists: Sir Ian Blatchford, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi

All events are free and will take place online, but booking is required.

About the speakers

Deborah Frances-White is a stand-up comedian whose BBC Radio 4 series won a Writers’ Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy, and she has made appearances on Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week and The News Quiz. She is a screenwriter whose first feature film Say My Name is produced by Electric Entertainment.

Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist, author and broadcaster. She presents radio and television programmes for the BBC, and her writing has appeared across the world, including in New Scientist, Prospect, The Sunday Times, Wired, and National Geographic. Angela’s latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, was published by 4th Estate in May 2019 to enormous critical acclaim and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Foyles Book of the Year.

Dame Sally Davies is UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance. Before this, she was Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK government from March 2011 to September 2019, having held the post on an interim basis since June 2010.

Ortis Deley is in his ninth year of hosting Channel 5’s popular The Gadget Show. Ortis has also co-hosted the sell-out live version of the show on numerous occasions at Birmingham’s NEC, performing to over 75,000 guests during the 5-day event. Ortis’ love of science and technology began when he was a child who was into sci-fi and comic books. He is a self-confessed bona fide geek.

Alex Fefegha is co-founder and head of making at Comuzi, a design and innovation studio, working at the intersection of emerging technology and humans. Alex has been recognised internationally for his work investigating the ethical implications of AI, algorithmic bias in regards to race and gender and exploring the future technological interfaces that we as humans will interact with.

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi has devoted more than 25 years to working on poverty alleviation, tackling injustice and inequalities. She has worked in both intergovernmental and non-governmental spaces, bringing in-depth experience from across the development sector. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Christian Aid, leading development and humanitarian interventions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. Amanda has also served with the United Nations under the United Nations Volunteer programme in Germany, as Chief, Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation and Chief of Advisory Services. But Where Are You Really From? is her first book.

More speakers to be announced soon.

About the Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television. Our mission is to inspire futures—igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe. More information can be found at the Science Museum Group website.